Every time the kohanim would wash their hands and feet before entering the Mishkan premises to perform their service, they would do so from a tank-like structure called the kior. This vessel was coated with mirrors which had been donated by the women as their contribution to the Mishkan. The Maggid of Mezritch zt”l explains that much can be learned from the placement of the mirrors specifically on this vessel in the Mishkan. Before the kohanim were able to start their work day, they had to wash and thereby come face to face with themselves via the mirrors on the kior. Throughout the course of their day, the kohanim would encounter all different types of people who would come with offerings to the Mishkan. The Maggid explains that by looking at the mirror, the kohanim were encouraged to look at others in a positive light. One may ask, how would this apply if they were merely seeing a reflection of themselves in the mirror? The answer is that, most of the time, when we look at someone else in a negative way, we are projecting our own feelings of self. It is interesting to note that the Maggid lived before the diagnostic term of projection was introduced to our clinical vernacular. The kohanim were the epitome of purity. The mirrors on the kior forced them to look internally before representing the people in front of Hashem. May we strive to become aware and sensitive to our own sense of self, and with it our shortcomings, when we engage with other people.
By Eliezer Zwickler
Eliezer Zwickler is senior rabbi of Congregation AABJ&D in West Orange, NJ. Rabbi Zwickler is also a psychotherapist-LCSW in private practice, focusing on couples therapy. Listen to Rabbi Zwickler’s “webdvar” on the Nachum Segal Network at 9pm each Motzei Shabbat, or on his YouTube channel (ezwickler). Rabbi Zwickler can be reached at [email protected].